Traditionally, if you want to be a superhero, there’s only one costume option: spandex, with a possible outer pair of underwear (and, if you’re being drawn by Rob Liefeld, 24 separate bandoliers of pouches). Some fine fellows, though, are unafraid to buck the trend, choosing to match their skills with some truly dashing wardrobe choices. Meet our favorites below:
5) Green Arrow
There’s nothing about Oliver Queen, AKA, the DC Universe’s Emerald Archer, that doesn’t infer, “swashbuckling cad”. His perfectly groomed mustache, his double-pronged chin-beard, his pointy cap with its jaunty feather: it all perfectly encapsulates a man who could shoot the olive out of your martini (trust us, if you were in a bar frequented by Ollie, you’d be drinking a martini) before hopping on the back of his leather-and-fishnet-clad girlfriend’s bike to beat the stuffing out of a giant mind-controlling gorilla. He’s so ridiculous that he’s awesome, and nothing says that like dressing as Errol Flynn at an S&M party.
The mute son of Deathstroke The Terminator (hint: not a good guy!), Jericho was a loyal member of the Teen Titans before inevitably getting killed off and resurrected several times. Regardless, he dresses sort of like a 17th Century English farmer trying to go to a costume party as The New Adventures of He-Man, but the fact he accentuates his bizarre outfit with a mauve velvet vest and gold bracelets – not to mention what looks suspiciously like a puffy shirt – means that he automatically qualifies to join any gentleman’s club that takes his fancy.
3) Doctor Strange
If there’s one guy in the Marvel Universe who knows how to look dapper while just hanging out, it’s Doctor Strange. While most of us consider an old t-shirt and a pair of jogging bottoms to be perfectly adequate leisurewear, the Doc slips into an all-silk get-up, complete with a fetching tangerine sash and a nice warm cape that has its own head-rest to prevent his just-toweled hair from dampening the couch. Couple this with his pad – a three-story townhouse in Greenwich Village that he calls the “Sanctum Sanctorum”, attended by his Chinese monk assistant, Wong (picture possibly NSFW) – and you’ve got a guy who knows how to make watching eight episodes of The Sopranos with a hangover on a Saturday evening, look like Noel Coward entertaining the entire cast of Masterpiece Theatre.
There are several heroes who rock a suit while doing their thing – The Question; The Shadow; The Spirit – but none have accessorized it quite like The Phantom Stranger. Casting aside the traditional suit and tie, he instead rocks a white polo-neck sweater with a gold medallion, making him look less like a superhero than a 70s porn star spending his Sunday off at IKEA. The white gloves and blue cape are a gentlemanly touch, however, and if we were to be accosted by a vaguely porn-y stranger in a bus shelter late at night, we’d prefer it to be of the Phantom variety.
1) Mandrake the Magician
A newspaper strip character distributed by King Features – but known to most people for being the guy who had the best bit of the Defenders Of The Earth theme song – Mandrake may be the most suave hero of all time. Any one of his signature sartorial choices – a vermillion-lined cape; a silk top hat; a crystal-topped cane; a pristine white dickie; a mustache that looks like it belongs on an aristocratic publisher of Victorian pornography - would have got him a pace on this list, but the fact he combined them makes him as smooth as an oiled weasel. And people, that is smooth.